Bowman, Robinson lift Soccer Dogs to 2-0 win in state quarterfinal

Jacob Steimer

MURFREESBORO – It took Bearden more than 50 minutes, but eventually Conner McCarty and Chris Bowman found a way to get the ball in the net in the state tournament. Twenty minutes later, the Bulldogs got an impressive solo effort from Raphael Robinson to beat Columbia Central 2-0 in a state quarterfinal Tuesday. Bearden (17-3-5) will play Collierville (13-4-4) on Wednesday at 7:30 central at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex for the right to move on to the state championship game. Brentwood and Riverdale will meet in the other semifinal. The Dogs’ first goal on Tuesday came courtesy of a McCarty cross that Bowman headed in. “Conner just got it, took it at his feet, crossed it and we had three or four guys crashing,” Bearden coach Eric Turner said. “So, that was good.” Bowman just happened to be one of those guys. “We practiced that in practice every day,” Bowman said. “We’re told to just crash backside. We do that countless times in a half, and it comes maybe one out of ten times. “I just put it in with my body.” Bearden’s second goal came after some pretty dribbling by Robinson in the box that put him one-on-one with the keeper, with 10:30 left in the match. “He was just looking at me, so I thought I would just place the ball,” Robinson said. “I kicked it, and he went the other way.” The match was one of few chances, and the styles of the two teams mirrored each other. The best opportunities came off of set pieces. “The key to the game was those air balls,” Columbia Central coach Patrick Holman said. “There was constant pressure on those throw ins, corners and crosses.” Bearden had the first two real chances of the game, with Andrew Fulcher putting a McCarty corner just wide five minutes in and Brent Seltzer firing slightly high just two minutes later. Lowry Bender got free for a shot much later in the half, and Seltzer had a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper late in proceedings. Columbia Central (13-6-1) missed some opportunities as well, and the Lions allowed the three-time state champion’s reputation to dictate some of their playing style. “We had too much respect for them,” Coach Holman said. “We sat back too much in the first half.” The Lions did get the ball in the net once in the second half, but it was ruled that Bearden goalie Logan Dodson had his hands on it when the Columbia Central player put his foot on it. “No complaints,” Coach Holman said. “I was hoping; you can hope. But the keeper had two hands on it. That’s a good call.” It may have been a good call, but it was a close one. The ball popped off of Dodson’s gloves after an initial save, and it was unclear whether Dodson put two hands back on it before the Lion could shoot it home. Making the final four will get the 2012 Bulldogs a sign on the fence around Bruce Allender Field. As Coach Turner will tell his players, though, these next two games will determine how big that sign will be. Diamond Dogs 7, Franklin 5: Jordan Wall, Chris Pritchett, and Neil Gore all drove in runs during a four-run fifth inning that helped the Bearden baseball team get a come-from-behind win against the Rebels on Tuesday. The Bulldogs will play Walker Valley in a winners’ bracket game today at 1:30 central at Oakland High School. Senior Ronnie Broyles got the win on just two days rest from Bearden’s sectional win Saturday.